What we're reading


As we head into the weekend, here are a few things we’ve noticed that might be worth your screen-time.
In the journals
Bell, G. 2013. The phylogenetic interpretation of biological surveys. Oikos. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00405.x.

I describe a method of nested sister-group analysis for estimating ecological similarity based on landscape features or on co-distribution. The phylogeny is dissected into triplets, each comprising two sister taxa and their outgroup. For a triplet at any phylogenetic level, the similarity of sister groups with respect to some given character can be compared with their joint similarity to the outgroup to give a single test of similarity by descent.

Poisot, T., Péquin, B. & Gravel, D. 2013. High-throughput sequencing: A roadmap toward community ecology. Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.508.

Here, we showcase how HTS can be put in practice by revisiting classical questions pertaining to the distribution and dynamics of ecological diversity. In particular, we start from characterization of α-diversity, and scale up to the integration of species interactions in species distribution. Doing so, we highlight how these techniques can rapidly transform modern ecology by bringing new answers general ecologists are concerned about.

Linnen, C.R., Poh, Y.-P., Peterson, B.K., Barrett, R.D.H., Larson, J.G., Jensen, J.D., et al. 2013. Adaptive evolution of multiple traits through multiple mutations at a single gene. Science 339: 1312–1316. doi: 10.1126/science.1233213.

We identified distinct regions within the Agouti locus associated with each color trait and found that only haplotypes associated with light trait values have evidence of selection. Thus, local adaptation is the result of independent selection on many mutations within a single locus, each with a specific effect on an adaptive phenotype, thereby minimizing pleiotropic consequences.

In the blogosphere
If you celebrated “pi day” yesterday, you might want to consider celebrating tau day” instead, next year.
How to get a faculty job in 20 not-so-easy steps.
A view from the front lines of the fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria. It ain’t pretty.

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Associate Professor of Biology at California State University Northridge, studying the evolution and coevolution of interacting species, especially mutualists. He is a collaborator with the Joshua Tree Genome Project and the Queer in STEM study of LGBTQ experiences in scientific careers. He has written for the website of Scientific American, the LA Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Awl, and Slate.
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